WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on July 1 announced the United States has formally agreed to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, setting the stage to reopen embassies in both countries for the first time in 54 years.

The move was welcomed by Cargill, which long has advocated for the end of the US trade embargo on Cuba and was among the first companies to send food shipments to Cuba in 2002 under a humanitarian exemption. Cargill chairs the US Agricultural Coalition for Cuba (USACC), a partnership of nearly 100 prominent US agricultural associations, state groups and businesses committed to normalizing trade with Cuba.

“The lesson of the embargo is that shutting down the lines of communication and commerce isn't the most effective approach,” said David MacLennan, president and CEO of Cargill. “It’s only by sharing the economic and social benefits of our society through open trade that the US will have a productive relationship with Cuba.”